James Danks

July 26, 1942 ~ November 14, 2021 (age 79)


James Ralph Danks was born on July 26, 1942, to Ralph and Ellen (Gustafson) Danks. He passed away on November 14, 2021, after a ten-month battle with cancer.

Jim grew up on the family farm near Runnells, Iowa. He graduated from Central College in 1964 and Drake University in 1969. Early in his career Jim taught and coached football, first at Pella Community High School from 1964-66, and then at Central College from 1966-74. He then joined Pella Corporation, where he worked for 28 years, including ten years as the general manager of the international sales group. 

After he retired from Pella Corporation in 2002, Jim spent many years volunteering for Central College, particularly the Central RED Society and the football program. Jim received the college’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993. This past September he was honored as the first recipient of the Spirit of Central award, which recognized his 60 years of dedication to Central’s football program.

Jim also had a deep commitment to the broader Pella community. He served for 34 years on the Planning and Zoning Commission, 16 years at the Pella Historical Village during Tulip Time, and eight years as an elementary school reading tutor. Jim was an avid golfer, enjoyed fishing in Canada, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, and was a proud 50-year member of the Scottish Rite. He treasured spending time working in his yard, in particular raising roses and orchids. 

Jim married Maureen Croak in 1973. Together they had two children: Ryan and Elizabeth. Maureen passed away in 1981. In 1986 Jim married Phyllis Foster, who adopted Ryan and Elizabeth. Jim is survived by Phyllis, their children, and their children’s families: Ariel Hayes (Ryan) and Cal, Adrienne, and Peter Johnson (Elizabeth). He is also survived by sister Jeannie Danks McMorris, brother John Danks, their families, and the extended Foster and Croak families.

Jim’s family is grateful for the care provided by Comfort House of Pella in the last days of his life

To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
November 22, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Central College Graham Conference Center
812 University
Pella, IA 50219

Sharing of Memories
November 22, 2021

4:00 PM
Central College Graham Conference Center
812 University
Pella, IA 50219

Please note
The Sharing of Memories will be Livestreamed at 4:00 pm on the Garden Chapel Funeral Home FaceBook and YouTube pages. Attendees are encouraged to wear a mask.


Central College in Jim's memory
Pella IA

Select “other” in the gift designation and put Jim Danks memorial in the gift notes.

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